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Belmont Club

The Upper and Nether Millstones

August 19th, 2014 - 2:22 pm

Yesterday’s post about the inexorable expansion of government can be read in conjunction with Roger Simon’s current piece about how the Great Society laid the foundations for the riots in Ferguson.

Ironically, Michael Brown and the paramilitarized Ferguson Police Department are two sides of the same coin. They are the joint product of the politics of grievance and the growing expansion of government. The taxes that made the mobs dependent also armed the paramilitary police that contain them.   You have one government department handing out Obamaphones and another handing out MRAPs to the cops. HHS gives out Obamacare and the IRS enforces it.

A giant bureaucracy tasked with providing all “positive rights” rumbles on, even as progressive politics unleashes more “community organizers” while erecting a giant political machine to meet those same growing expectations.  It calls to and answers itself. The result on a community scale is Ferguson. The result on a national scale is Barack Obama.

Dependence is met with welfare; crime countered by replacing the family — after destroying it first — with state adoption and child protection agencies.  Two monstrous excrescences grow from the soil to dizzying heights. It was supposed to be a win-win: the Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth (represented by the youths) would be governed and fed by the All-Seeing Eye of Agamotto. In charge of it all would be our very own Dr. Barack Strange Obama, who would preside over both the youths and their keepers.

And it continues apace. Soon Eric Holder will tell us whom to blame. And as Foxtrot Alpha explains, maybe systems like the “Wide Area Aerial Surveillance, the all-seeing eye in the sky that will change our lives forever” will tell us whom to find. Yet both, as Roger Simon notes, will utterly fail to spot the real culprit: the system that created this dynamic in the first place.

The only people who don’t belong in this tableau are people who work for a living. In Ferguson, schools have been closed, stores shuttered and businesses shut. Does anybody remember — or care — about the convenience store owner whose robbery was the proximate cause of this dust-up? No, because he was only the victim of a “prank” who has no spoken lines in this grand production.  He is no more than a bit player, a prop even,  in the inexorable drama of progressive history.

Marxism has always had a particular hatred for “shopkeepers”; the guys who cook your ham and eggs in the diner or pick up the trash in the morning. It reviles as ridiculous the people who and try and get by without being uplifted by noble thoughts of race, class warfare or the Engines of History. Yet the ordinary productive man is who actually makes the world turn; who builds the Obamaphones and who provides the cigars to steal.

The attitude “if you don’t want trouble, just hand me the cigars” is met by its fatal twin: Police Officer: “if you don’t want to get shot…just do what I tell you.“   In this universe there is no room for freedom or behavior based on shared culture.  There is no room for individual responsibility or limited government. That went out of style along with the old document called the Constitution that nobody reads anymore.  All that is left is an insistent crowd outside of a fortified distribution center.

The Great Society — that pale foreshadowing of the real thing into whose realm we are now beginning to enter — sketched out the draft of paradise. And its vision was a multitude demanding to be given things on one side and a great soulless, armored bureaucracy shoveling it out to them on the other. From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed.  It is a Soviet distribution line taken to the scale of a continent. One name for this is socialism. The other name for it, people will soon discover, is fascism. Any government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to shoot you dead in the street, no questions asked. The only difference between socialism and national socialism is a single word.

Many are wondering why the president remains hunkered down in Martha’s Vineyard. Well, what else should he do? The dog caught the car.  The greatest tragedy of Ferguson isn’t the bad that’s already happened there. It’s what comes after.  When the last convenience store is burned and the last business leaves town, the moral of Ferguson, we will be told by the elites, is that we failed both the mobs and the police; and it will, without any more ado, proceed to give us more of both.

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Top Rated Comments   
Nobody is rioting because somebody got shot. They're rioting because they don't think they'll get shot.

This is the calculus that needs changing.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
Americans used to be like that -- not wanting to be controlled. But I fear that applies to fewer and fewer of us. TWANLOC, or whatever the abbreviation is, are increasing in number, both through immigration and education.

When cities burn they will welcome the police in their tanks and armored vehicles. And their rocket launchers will dwarf the handguns, shotguns, and rifles the second amendment provided the rest of us.

Flirting with fantasy I have wondered whether GOP opposition to the over-use of executive orders is wise. Perhaps it would be better to get the Dem's to endorse those executive orders so that the next GOP President can use them to cancel all of those enacted since 2008. Only after that should he go to Congress to limit their future use. BUT that would be using the man on the horse theory thus opening the door to the dictatorship we are trying to avoid. Relying on a "benevolent dictator" to right the wrongs of the "malevolent dictator" is a very slippery slope.

As to whether the US Military would oppose a fascist bureaucratic State, I'm no longer so sure. The decapitation of the top brass has depleted those who might have the authority and prestige to oppose dictatorship.

“The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.”

27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
The hegemon could have been the Soviet Union or Nazi Germany. If radical Islam had its druthers, it too would like to be the hegemon. But there's hegemons and hegemons.

The reason why the US was so desirable a hegemon -- as reflected by the Pax Americana whose afterglow we still enjoy -- was because it was that rarest of things, the democratic hegemon. It was founded on liberty, and the reviled sentimentalities of Judaeo Christianity.

Therefore it didn't cut your head off. It didn't ask for "papers pliss" like the other hegemons.

But somewhere along the line the hegemon forgot liberty and it forgot its roots. And now we are facing two dangers. The first is that some tyrannical hegemon like Russia, China or Islam may replace it. The second is that America may hold the ring, together with the EU, but be no better than its rivals.

The founding fathers got it right. All societies need a government, but there's governments and governments. They wanted the best of all possible, a limited government, which ironically also makes the best hegemon. Now we have the worst of all worlds.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (147)
All Comments   (147)
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Oh, the beginning of the process can be traced back to twilight of the 19-th century. But real acceleration occur after competitor collapsed. Bureaucrats and mediocrities had a field day.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
Some bleeding hearts here are concerned about the business-owners of Ferguson.

You've obviously not been listening to Our President and Senator Warren, so I will remind you:

"They didn't build that!"
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
With the greatest of respect to Wretchard,

We do not, by any sane account, have the worst of worlds.

Millions of us are privileged to live in peace (locally) far from the fanatics and murderers. Even throughout the USA you can stay in towns and villages where daily life is safe and peaceful, where millions go about the business of making a living and bringing up families.

Every where I have traveled, all through the States and Canada, most of Mexico away from the troubled areas, through several far Eastern countries and all through Europe apart from a few troubled areas it is the same.

We may be worried about the worst of all worlds, that would be when such places no longer exist. We must worry for our futurer and that of our children but, while preparing as best we can, let us also be thankful for what we do have.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
With the latest revelations about the death of Michael Brown I'm betting that Eric Holder is having a fit. The Narrative is under attack. At this very moment he and his minions are probably trying to slap a gag order on the Fergusson Police Department. How dare they attack the preordained verdict of guilt for the evil white cop who murdered an innocent little black youth?

The ultimate crime is contradicting the Narrative.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
Last week, my wife and I drove our newlywed son's car and our grand-dog from Wisc. to the Republic of Texas via the scenic route. I suppose we could have stopped for breakfast in Ferguson one morning, but instead opted for bypassing the metro area and sticking to the back-roads. The entire drive thru western Illinois, Missouri and Arkansas couldn't help but leave us feeling good about America; impressive crops of corn and beans in Illinois giving way to hay fields and grazing cattle in Missouri and Arkansas. Our route in the the Ozarks took us thru young, healthy oak forests and past rushing streams. All in all, we spent about 3 days on some of the backest of (paved) back roads. The overall impression was one of a free and prosperous and orderly America (altho I can't speak to what was going on up some of those unpaved roads in the Ozarks).

With the Ferguson kerfuffle and militarization of police dominating the news, it occurred to me that those militarized police on the streets of Ferguson are culturally, and maybe even geographically, from the part of America that we were driving through. Maybe that's why the Statists seem to be having second thoughts about this whole police militarization thing. They are probably starting to wonder who exactly it is that they have succeeded in militarizing.

27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
President Obama walked into the bank to cash a check. As he approached the cashier he said, "Good morning Ma'am, could you please cash this check for me?"

Cashier: "It would be my pleasure sir. Would you please show me your ID?"

Obama: "Truthfully, I did not bring my ID with me as I didn't think there was any need to. I am Barack Obama, the President of the United States of AMERICA!!!!"

Cashier: "Yes sir, but with all the regulations and monitoring of the banks and the requirements of the Dodd-Frank legislation, etc., I must insist on seeing your ID.

Obama: "Just ask anyone here at the bank who I am and they will tell you. Everybody knows who I am."

Cashier: "I am sorry, but these are the bank rules and I must follow them."

Obama: "I order you to cash this check!"

Cashier: "Look, here is an example of what we can do. One day, Tiger Woods came into the bank without ID. To prove he was Tiger Woods he placed a cup on the floor and made a beautiful putt all the way across the bank and into the cup. With that shot we knew he was Tiger Woods and cashed his check. Another time, Andre Agassi came in without ID. He pulled out his tennis racquet and made a fabulous shot where the tennis ball landed right in the cup on my desk. That proved he was Andre Agassi and we cashed his check. So what can you do to prove that you are actually Barack Obama?"

Obama stands there deep in thought for several minutes and finally says, "Honestly, I can't think of a single thing. I don't have a clue what to do.”

Cashier: "Will that be large or small bills, Mr. President?
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
gotta luv the onion:

"Tips For Being An Unarmed Black Teen

With riots raging in Ferguson, MO following the shooting death by police of an unarmed African-American youth, the nation has turned its eyes toward social injustice and the continuing crisis of race relations. Here are The Onion’s tips for being an unarmed black teen in America:

•Shy away from dangerous, heavily policed areas.
•Avoid swaggering or any other confident behavior that suggests you are not completely subjugated.
•Be sure not to pick up any object that could be perceived by a police officer as a firearm, such as a cell phone, a food item, or nothing.
•Explain in clear and logical terms that you do not enjoy being shot, and would prefer that it not happen.
•Don’t let society stereotype you as a petty criminal. Remember that you can be seen as so much more, from an armed robbery suspect, to a rape suspect, to a murder suspect.
•Try to see it from a police officer’s point of view: You may be unarmed, but you’re also black.
•Avoid wearing clothing associated with the gang lifestyle, such as shirts and pants.
•Revel in the fact that by simply existing, you exert a threatening presence over the nation’s police force.
•Be as polite and straightforward as possible when police officers are kicking the sh** out of you.,36697/
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Try to see it from a police officer’s point of view:"

The officer's vision was obviously impaired.
Some say it might be related to his blown out eye socket.
One of the sequelae of the Ferguson cigar heist.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
This Onion writer was on vacation trekking the wilds of Borneo. A couple cannibals grabbed him and tossed him in the stew pot. One of 'em took a taste, and asked the other, "hey, does this taste funny to you?"
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
Them primitives were left bewildered by the Ghost of Don Pardo, who threw in an Asphalt Potato behind their backs.

Don Pardo @ 92 yrs of age:
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
The US has jumped the shark. Perhaps the founding fathers got it right. Perhaps they were thinking about themselves, a small group of fairly educated and powerful men personally stung by the abuses of the British. You'd have to know them all, I guess.

But the idea that true 'freedom' derives from American principles must be questioned. Or, the 'Providence' they wrote about needs to be renewed, and will not be. The Great Society, the sponge monster welfare state, is here, and it is not going away. I will not argue that Israeli democracy is superior to the American one, though at least Israel has a Prime Minister 100% known to be Israeli.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
Oh yeah? Well ours is 100% as likely to be Israeli as American!
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
though at least Israel has a Prime Minister 100% known to be Israeli.

Now, now, that was a cheap shot that was uncalled for. We had to elect this President to understand who he was ... or some such bunk.

I'll make it easy for you.

Anything that looks like Socialism, that aggregates power to the state, and where most of that state power is directed towards special interest expenditure, is Socialist or some derivative of Socialism. As much as I respect the Israelis, Israel as a modern state was created by European Socialists.

The American system of government works every time it's been tried. Corrupted versions (read "unconstitutional"), not so much. The Achilles heel of the US Constitutional system, and a weakness acknowledged by the founders, is enforcement of the Constitutional system by the men to whom that responsibility has been entrusted. Mankind is the weak link. For all the checks and balances, the deliberate distribution of power, it takes only a few corrupt men in key positions to ruin it all, and unfortunately, the USA has 1000's of corrupt politicians and bureaucrats running roughshod over the Constitutional protections originally intended.

No system will survive corrupt men, as God Himself has ceded men their right to rule their lives, and men being originally corrupt, will do what men will do. So, it is truly exceptional and amazing to see a George Washington type of man, putting duty, honor, and the future good of future generations, over his own interests.

We don't need to throw out the American system; we need to throw out the corrupt men who run it, and elect the right men into office. If I were President, and with the support of a friendly congress, my administration would be "transformative". No longer would an unelected EPA bureaucrat, for example, deem a soggy mud puddle to be a "navigable waterway" for purposes of unconstitutional taking by the state. No longer would government workers be unionized to work AGAINST the national interests of those they serve. No longer would the USA fight wars with rules bent to benefit the enemy, nor to create intractable wars. No longer would America's enemies count on America to rebuild and make them whole after they lost in a war they force us to fight. America's national interest would be deemed "good" by definition, good for America first, but in the long run, good in terms of individual freedom for people of nations around the world. I'd push the Senate to impeach federal judges who have forgotten their oath, and who issue rulings clearly inconsistent with the original Constitutional intent. I'd shutter entire federal departments. This stuff is just not that hard.

"Good" and "Evil" would be objectively defined, and "evil doers" would know what the hell to expect from their actions, consistently, and with extreme prejudice, as the saying goes.

A few good men (or women) is all it takes to turn America around, to roll back Socialism towards common sense and freedom, and it can be done in 10 years, even less.
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27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
"The Achilles heel of the US Constitutional system, and a weakness acknowledged by the founders, is enforcement of the Constitutional system by the men to whom that responsibility has been entrusted. "

I agree completely but hold that the beginning of the end of the founder's vision was the imposition of the income tax. No longer were the "weak men" restrained in their lust for power, they did not have to go to the people for the money that backs the power of the federal government. Repeal the income tax, making Congress ASK us for funding and the whole equation changes. And do not fund anything not expressly justified by the Constitution. Make the states responsible for their own citizens.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
Founders of Israel were diverse, though European Jews dominated. Certainly their socialism was gentler in its effects on others than the Bolshevik variety or what is expressed in Ayer's writings. But Israel has evolved, conservatives do have a voice, and the US has slid towards socialism. I think the levels of corruption are deeper than you, apparently. Maybe it can be rolled back - certainly it's possible, I agree.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
OT: Obambus holds a press conference to criticize God

"ISIL are bad, and a just God would not approve."
"Therefore I am today taking the following executive actions, I have accepted God's resignation, and we thank Him for His service, and Samantha Power will be doing His work until the Senate approves a replacement."
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
Correction, the exact quote is:
No just God would stand for what they did yesterday and what they do every single day."
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
Nobody is rioting because somebody got shot. They're rioting because they don't think they'll get shot. Mendel Telebendee

O.T.: I was thinking of a parallel yesterday, as I saw another replay of Iraq's finest American trained armed forces being herded into holes in the ground to be shot. I was wondering "why in the world would these young soldiers just lay down arms and not fight, when they are trained, well equipped, etc. Even if their leaders fled, you'd think that they'd fight for self- preservation, and for the lives of their buddies..". I'm wondering about the conversations in the back of those trucks, when they must have known that they were going to their deaths, i.e. if there were any regrets at not fighting to the death.

But then again, the entire military experience of 3 generations of Iraqi's has been against the U.S. or Western forces, playing by the "nice, nice" rules of Western nations. I suspect that they thought they'd just lay down their weapons, change clothes, and go home to mama like they did in 2003, or like their fathers and uncles did in 1990, and get a check for the US funded local authorities for some sort of "make work" rebuilding projects. They had no concept of what total "unrestricted warfare" meant, and particularly lawless "uncivilized warfare" of the 7th century, until they died in that hole.

The sad fact is, those Iraqi kids knew about as much of human nature as the US elites. The first time it dawns on American progressives that maybe Cowboy Bush knew a few things about the world that King Obama does not, would be when they were in a lying in that hole in the ground, seconds before their slaughter. It would be an educational experience, that is for certain, useless, but educational.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
Neither "Cowboy Bush" nor "King Obama" knew what they are doing.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
--i wondered about that too --truckloads of captured troops, all of 'em heads down, faces hidden of their own accord. The look is 'shame' --these guys look ashamed. Probably they were docile because they were trying to save their families from atrocity. Bolsheviks wrote the SOP manual on how to work this tactic, during the Tambov Rebellion in the early 1920s.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
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